El Salvador to aid Guatemala with aircraft to access Eta-hit zones
A handout photo made available by the government of El Salvador showing first responders carrying food packages for victims of the impact of Hurricane Eta, part of a donation that the Salvadoran government is making to Guatemala and Honduras, in San Salvador, El Salvador (issued 11 November 2020). EFE/EPA/Government of El Salvador / HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES
A handout photo made available by the government of El Salvador showing first responders carrying food packages to send to victims of Hurricane Eta, part of an effort by the Salvadoran government to aid Guatemala and Honduras, in San Salvador, El Salvador (issued 11 November 2020). EFE/EPA/Government of El Salvador / HANDOUT HANDOUT/EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES
A handout photo made available by the government of El Salvador showing trucks loaded with food for victims of Hurricane Eta, part of an effort by the Salvadoran government to help Guatemala and Honduras, in San Salvador, El Salvador (issued 11 November 2020). EFE/EPA/Government of El Salvador / HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES
San Salvador, Nov 11 (efe-epa).- El Salvador's defense minister, Rene Merino Monroy, reported Wednesday that his country will support Guatemala with two aircraft that will be used to reach difficult and vulnerable areas of the neighboring country that were hit hard by Hurricane Eta.
Merino Monroy said during an appearance before the media that on Wednesday morning he held "talks with the minister of defense of ... Guatemala (Juan Carlos Aleman Soto)," who "asked for the support of two air force aircraft."
He said that the aircraft "will be used to be able to get to those difficult to access and vulnerable spots, and to give support to the people there."
In addition, Merino Monroy said that elements of the Salvadoran military that are in Guatemala "will continue to perform search and rescue and (food) supply tasks for this brother country."
"This is just one example of the confidence that the government of (Salvadoran) President Nayib Bukele is creating in the Central American region," he added.
The president's communications office confirmed that "the two aircraft have already departed from (San Salvador's) Ilopango Airport en route to Guatemala to continue supporting the rescue and humanitarian tasks for the Guatemalans affected by Eta."
On Sunday night, volunteers and staffers from various government institutions loaded 62 trucks and six vans with 60,000 packets of food to help the families in both nations that have been affected by Eta.
The aid began to arrive on Monday and 200 rescue workers, machinery and equipment also were made available to help in the search and rescue efforts for victims in both countries.
Bukele posted a video on the social networks in which Hondurans can be seen thanking El Salvador for the aid that country has dispatched.
In the video can be seen people waving Salvadoran and Honduran flags, others carrying signs with messages of thanks and some applauding and welcoming the aid.
"A single people ... flag of El Salvador, flag of Honduras ... The dream of (Francisco) Morazan took a step forward (on Tuesday) in Honduras," Bukele wrote.
Morazan, born Oct. 3, 1792, was executed by firing squad on Sept. 15, 1842, the same day that Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua celebrated 21 years of independence from Spain.
He had fought for the unification of Central America and dreamed of forging the region into a single nation.
According to the Salvadoran leader, the contribution of his government will help guarantee the food security of the residents of 16 municipalities in northern Honduras.
On Wednesday, officials with El Salvador's National Civil Protection Commission met with representatives of the state-run Copeco contingency commission to coordinate the work of alleviating suffering due to the storm as well as carrying out search and rescue tasks in Choloma, one of the municipalities hardest hit by the torrential rain brought by Eta.
According to the International Red Cross's director of operations in the Americas, Felipe Del Cid, in Honduras the death toll from the storm stands at 58, some 5,800 people have been evacuated, eight are missing, 78 communities are cut off, 4,500 people are in shelters and 53 bridges and 122 roads have been damaged by Eta's rain.
The Red Cross is not ruling out and will be monitoring the possible migration of Hondurans who want to head for the United States after the damage wrought by Eta, which has only served to intensify poverty in the Central American nation.
There also may be internal migration of Hondurans who have lost everything in their communities due to the catastrophic flooding over the past week.